Ready for Show & Tell? I thought it would be fun to take a peek inside everyone's classrooms. I love doing it in real life, so why not try it virtually!

First up is my real-life friend Gina. In her post she says she's a neat freak. She's not kidding. When I met Gina many years ago, I was NOT a neat freak. Not anywhere close, as a matter of fact. I learned a lot from Gina. Of course, first I had to suffer through an intervention of sorts from her and the rest of the neat-freak team I had joined. I remember sitting there and watching them go through my closet and throw things away! Like in the garbage! MY things!! I had a bit of a panic attack, but you know what. It had to be done. Now at school I really am kind of a neat freak myself. People come in my room all the time and comment on how neat my room is. This happens to Gina too and we often wonder if those people think we don't really teach because the room isn't a disaster. I have actually found myself stopping in the middle of a lesson because there's something random on the floor or to fix a book that's all screwy in library. I blame it on Gina. {Now at home... that's another story...} So, visit my buddy Gina at Beach Sand and Lesson Plans to see how she does things. Just click {HERE} I won't talk so much about the rest. I promise.

Next up is my friend Lori from Teaching with Love and Laughter. I love, love, love her bright and cheerful room. {And I totally just wishlisted her Writing Bundle Pack!} Click {HERE} to visit her.

I've blogged about my friend Jen from The Teacher's Cauldron before. But seriously, she amazes me. She's got two little littles, cooks, creates, blogs and works out. Works out, people! It's a good thing she so crazy nice, because otherwise I'd be too jealous of her to be her friend. ;) Check out her room {HERE}

Next up is Sara from Smiling in Second Grade I loved her post because she blogged about getting rid of her teacher desk! I think about doing this all.the.time. Maybe next year. Maybe. Click {HERE} to read about it.

Next we have Jamie from 2nd Grade Stuff. Seriously, if she lived closer I'd pay her to come and recreate her room in my room. For real. She's got lots of creative uses for things we all have, which I really enjoyed seeing. Click {HERE} to visit Jamie.

I'm sneaking in an extra from my featured five to show of my blog buddy Reagan from Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits. It's just too cozy, homey, and just downright awesome not to share. Click {HERE} to take a lookie loo!

Oh, and click {HERE} if you want to take a peek at my room.
If you were one of today's featured five, feel free to grab this button:

So, ready to show us your home away from home? Feel free to link up any post that you have that shows a bit about your classroom set up. Just be sure to include this button and link back to this page. Can't wait to visit you all!

I have been super busy at work in my little teacher workshop (which also doubles as my dining room table) on a few new projects that I'm excited to share with you!

First up is my March Printables Pack. I started making these back in October and they've really evolved! This month's pack is full of all things spring and St. Patty's Day. I've included some of the same activities that I've gotten great feedback on, like the calendar page and wall of words. There's also a fun writing activity and addition and subtraction practice which should mirror what second and certainly third graders are doing right about now. In total, there are 19 pages of printable goodies for you! Each page has the CCSS for 1, 2 and 3 as appropriate right on the page to help you with planning purposes and of course all answer keys are included. It's on sale through tonight. Just click HERE to check it out.

And now for a project that I have been working on non-stop, every day, all night and each weekend day straight for at least the last month. It's an updated version of my Weekly Word Wizards. I changed the name to Second Grade Common Core Weekly Word Work for a few reasons. For one, I wanted it to be more obvious to people what they were looking at. Word Wizard sounded fun to me and I had the cute little wizard graphic, but it wasn't very descriptive. Secondly, I've had to make a second set of Word Wizards without the wizards because the element of magic involved in the wizard was not acceptable at some schools. That was actually surprising to me at first, but I can understand it and I really didn't have a problem making a modification like that.

I would also get lots of questions about what grade level the Word Wizards were for and if they were Common Core aligned. Truth be told, the original set was made before CCSS was the big buzzword and although lots the skills were the same, the way they were presented needed to shift more in line with common core. For example, the way prefixes and suffixes were addressed in the Word Wizard sets was just to have students identify which part of the word was an affix and which was the base word. In this new set, it's presented a bit differently. For example for prefixes the students are asked, "Which word means to read again" and they are given the choice between reread and unread.  Some CCSS were not addressed at all before, like non-fiction text features which now appear in this set. And some skills weren't quite so necessary anymore, like antonyms and synonyms.  Here's a list of exactly what is covered in the new and improved Common Core Weekly Word Work:
 If that's hard to read, just download the preview.
It's in there too along with a free week to try with your class.
With my Word Wizards, I created and released them one set at a time. Every few days I would get an email or question about offering them as a bundle. So this time, I decided to complete the entire set at once and release it as a yearlong unit. I guess doing this midyear isn't great timing - but I've also had a few people ask me about making enough to use daily, so this might help a bit in that area. It's also priced as a bundle. Listed individually, they would be $5.75 for a nine-week set, totaling $23 for the year. This set is listed at $19.50.

If you've been using my original Word Wizards, this might be a nice way to kick up the intensity for the end of the year. The format is the same, so students should be able to transition to it easily enough. I'm working on third grade now and fourth is looking more like a summer project at this point. If you've been using the first grade versions, I think those will be getting a facelift too, but since they are already CCSS aligned, the content won't change at all and you'll be able to just download the update when the time comes. 

Any questions, just ask! Have a fantastic work week ahead :)

I've got a few new interesting finds for reading today, both for you personally and for your students.

First up is an amazing new educational emagazine published by my friend Charity Preston, founder of The Organized Classroom Blog, Classroom Freebies, Common Core Lessons, and many, many more outstanding go-to resources. The premier issue is free and I've embedded it below, so you can peruse it right here. There are lots of teacher magazines, but most are aimed at professional development, activism, research or classroom ideas. This is different because it's more of a lifestyle magazine for teachers. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I hope you do too! Click HERE to learn how to subscribe to future issues.
Next up - RUN to Target! (after you finish reading, of course) The good folks at Highlights Magazine sent me a package in the mail filled with all of these little activity books. At first glance I thought, cool, my kids will like these for treasure box prizes. Then I looked at them a little closer and realized I could actually put them to better use in my classroom! Titles include Kids Science Questions, Poems to Go, Stories with Picture Cues along with activity pads for writing and puzzles. I love the big hidden picture poster. I'm going to put it up as one of my early finisher activities. All of these should be available in your Target Dollar Spot through March. I'm over the moon that for once the big find at the Dollar Spot was actually delivered to my door! And P.S. Did you know that Highlights has a blog? Well, they do. It's great and you can find it here.
I got yet another interesting package in the mail a while ago. Imagine my intrigue when I pulled this out of my mailbox. Coupled with the fact that the return address was from Carson-Dellosa, I couldn't rip that package open quick enough!

Inside were three new Spectrum Readers in their Common Core nonfiction book series for kids. Getting kids interested in nonfiction just keeps getting easier and easier with resources like this, right? 
I was really impressed with the content and visuals. They're also sturdy books. I've been noticing lately that some of the paperback books that I buy feel so flimsy, which is not a good thing in the hands of excited seven year-olds! Another impressive fact - they're only $3.99 each! Definitely worth checking out, which you can do HERE.
And now just some housekeeping. I hosted two giveaways recently and the winners have been chosen AND they have both replied claiming their prizes, which believe it or not doesn't always happen! The winner of the MeCorder giveaway was Ashley P and the winner of the All You Need Is Love giveaway was Sarah M. Congrats ladies!
And finally, I want to thank those you who who have been reading and linking up to my Show and Tell Tuesday posts! I haven't been able to read and respond to all the link ups because I've been amazingly obsessed with my latest project (more details soon!) but please know that I do read them and super, duper love that you linked up! 
Have a great weekend!

I'm putting a bit of a different spin on  today's Show and Tell. Instead of sending you all over the internet to visit some of my friends, there's no travel involved today. Today I'm sharing some of my all time favorite books and as always I invite you to link up and share yours too!

 And Tango Makes Three is a book I first heard about  on a morning talk show. Apparently, it was creating quite a controversy because it sorta-kinda deals with alternative lifestyles (well, as alternative as a couple of penguins can be). This is a true story about a pair of male chinstrap penguins in The Central Park Zoo who never mated with female penguins, but showed a desire to raise a chick. They tried to care for a rock and would huddle together, but of course they could not create a chick of their own. Zookeepers finally gave the pair an egg to care for and this book chronicles six years of their journey. It is truly amazing. What an incredible gift for same sex couples adopting a baby.

This next book requires some tissues. For real. Unfortunately, the situation represented in this work of fiction is all too real for many of our students. In this book,  Tight Times, a boy and his parents are trying to make ends meet under some dire economic circumstances. Mom has gone back to work so the boy spends time with a babysitter that makes him really miss his time with mom. Like any young boy, he wants a dog more than anything and feels he is finally old enough, like his father promised. Well, things go from bad to worse when dad loses his job. Now the dog is totally out of the question. When his parents send him outside as they discuss their most recent bad news, the boy finds a kitten. You'll need your tissues right about here. What happens next is so real, so honest. It's hard to read this one aloud without getting teary eyed.

This next one is just perfection. In The Other Side, a black girl and a white girl watch each other longingly from either side of a fence they were both warned not to cross over. In their innocence, they can not understand why they can't just jump over that fence and play together. Finally, one spunky little girl decides that fences like that were made for sitting on together, not for separating friends. The end is hopeful, insightful and just plain beautiful.

This last one, Unlovable,  also features a fence as a central element. But this time two pugs live on either side of the fence. One of the pugs, Alfred,  suffers from low self esteem because of the cruel taunts of a mean kitty. Alfred introduces himself to a new dog on the other side of the fence, but he says that he is a Golden Retriever! He and Rex become fast friends and share many interests. Finally, Rex digs a hole under the fence and when he sees that Alfred is not a Golden Retriever...well, it's about as sweet as it can get! What a great lesson to introduce acceptance, self esteem, building friendships on common interests, and if you like Pugs, well forget it. You'll be hooked just from the cover!

Next up is Things that are Most in the World by Judi Barrett. It's a great book to introduce superlatives. It's also a great mentor text for word choice, fluency and ideas. It's a quick read, but the phrases and the illustrations are a big hit with the kids. Lots of laughs with this one. One of the pages tells the wiggliest thing in the world is a snake on ice skates.

Here's a cute idea to use with it. After I share the book, we brainstorm a list of other -est words - coldest, coolest, weirdest, funniest, etc. Then in their writer's notebooks they write a few ideas using an -est word of their choice following the pattern the author used on each page. Finally, we publish it and add an illustration. Not a huge, deep lesson - but it's a great way get a little more out of the book than just a read aloud.

If you'd like the form to use with your own class, just click here to download from Google Docs.

My very, very favorite chapter book for older kids is Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli. I read it to my kids when I taught 4th grade. I don't read it to my second graders. It deals with topics that are a bit sensitive for the little ones: death, homelessness, segregation, discrimination. It is the kind of book that you read and just keep thinking of long after you close the cover. It's funny, sad, exciting, heartbreaking and heartwarming all at the same. It's worth reading just for your own pleasure too, it's that good.

If you're looking for a good personal read, try Gone Girl by Gilian Flynn if you haven't yet. It gripped me right from the start and the ending is just - wow. Fair warning - t's not a feel-good, lighthearted read.

Hope you found something new to check out. I have a serious picture book addiction and I read like crazy. Between my Kindle and the Kindle app on my phone, my face is always in a book - like in line at the grocery store, at red lights, at lunch. I've thought about limiting my real reading time to only reading when I'm the treadmill as a way to motivate my booty to actually get on the treadmill. I haven't quite followed through with that idea just yet...

So, ready to link up? Feel free to share any post you have about any books you love, picture, personal or otherwise. If you've got a great activity that goes along with it, that's great too! If you do link up, it has to be a blog post (which can contain a product, but please don't just link directly to your tpt store).

Don't forget to add the button and link back here!

Three day weekend on tap for this girl! How about you guys? My big plans include lots of coffee and snuggling up with the hubs. It's supposed to get COLD here this weekend. It's going to dip down into the low 40's. My friends, that is headline making news around these parts. I'm not even kidding.

So, when I was at FETC last month I saw some really amazing things that I fully intend to share more about as soon as I play with them enough to know what I'm doing. But there is one thing that just cracked me up that I have to share. If you're the person lots of people come to for help, you'll appreciate this one.

Now don't get me wrong. I love talking to people and helping them learn new things, but lots of times the things that people ask me to help them with could be answered by a simple Google search. Sound familiar to anyone else? If so, then you are going to love this as much as I do. Imagine this scenario, which usually doesn't involve coffee, but you get the idea:

Friend: Hey Denise, can you help me for a second?
Me: Sure, what's up?
Friend: Oh, I was just wondering if you could help me. I know you drink a lot of coffee and stuff.
Me: I sure do. What do you want to know?
Friend: Well, I was just wondering, can you tell me if coffee has caffeine?
Me: Well, check out this link. It's pretty helpful.

Bwhahaha!! Is that a crack up or what? It's seriously called Let Me Google That For You. In their own words, it's for all those people who find it more convenient to bother you with their questions rather than google it themselves.

As funny as I think it is, I'd feel too mean to actually use it with someone who really needs help, but it might be fun to send to a friend. This article on CNET has a little more about it along with some pretty good techy April Fool's Day pranks. It's never too early to start planning a good prank!

In other odds & ends...
You might want to pick up this President's Day Word Work Freebie. Just click on the picture:

And, I finally bundled some things that people have been asking me to for a while, so click {HERE} for the 1st grade Weekly Word Wizard bundle and click {HERE} for the 1st grade Weekly Math Magic bundle. And lots of you will be happy to know (I hope!) that I'm hard at work on a 2nd grade CCSS aligned Weekly Word Wizard set! I'll be offering those in 9 week sets and as bundle to be released all at the same time. It's a lot of work, but I'm obsessed with it. I'm a nerd. I'm ok with it.

There's still time to enter the All You Need is Love Giveaway that lots of my friends are participating in. Visit this post to see the details. My prize is a $25 shopping spree at my tpt store, and there's lots of other goodies up for grabs too.

And in other giveaway news, Ashley P was the winner of the MeCorder giveaway!

Have a great weekend my friends!

Well, I also need some coffee, but those who love me know that, so it's all good.

I know I've said it before, but starting this blog and getting to know some of the amazing ladies behind the blogs I've been reading forever has been my salvation at a time when I wasn't sure if I was going to continue teaching or start thinking of a second career. So when I say that I love them and I love this blog and I love tpt and I especially LOVE all of you I really mean it. I've been on this Earth long enough not to question love. There are all kinds of love and the more you can surround yourself with and accept, the better off you'll be!

So, in the spirit of all this mushy love stuff, I've joined up with some of these lovely ladies in the All You Need Is Love Giveaway, just in case you might need a some more classroom stuff to love!

All of the bloggers at the bottom of this post are giving away something fantastic, so be sure to visit them and enter each of their giveaways. I couldn't decide what to give away, so I'll leave it up to you. If you win my giveaway, you can choose $25 worth of products of your choice from my tpt store. Sound good? Enter using the rafflecopter widget below. You won't have to click all over in creation to enter, the only requirement is to leave me a blog comment and let me know what you think you  might want from my store. Click HERE to browse. You can even add some stuff to your wish list on tpt, so if you're the lucky winner you'll already know what you want!

Good luck, my little love bugs!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This theme of this week's Show and Tell is literacy centers. I picked this one out of purely selfish reasons! I have my own way of  "doing" centers and it works, but I have a really bad habit of ignoring the ol' if ain't broke don't fix it saying. I also want to move toward more of a Daily 5 set up. Of course reading the book and taking some training would probably help, but until I can get to that I'm relying on my blog friends to show me how it rolls in their room.

As usual, I'm starting out with my featured five. It was really, really difficult to narrow down the list! I'm really hoping lots of you link up to share all of the other greatness going on in your classrooms.

First is Mel from Seusstastic Classroom Inspirations. Click {HERE} to see just one of the bajillion picture packed posts she's got on her blog about centers and the Daily 5. I'll be spending more time there myself!

Next up is my bloggy superfriend Reagan from Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits. She calls this her longest post ever. She might be right, but it's jam packed with great ideas (including a turkey costume way, way down at the end.) Click {HERE} to read see it.

Next up is Corrina from Surfin' Through Second. Before you click {HERE} to check out her post, be warned that she lives in Hawaii and there is mention of surfing in the first part of the post. I didn't want to shock any of you who might still be buried under mountains of snow. lol! I like her post because she's at the beginning stages of implementing Daily 5 and her ideas and shared resources make it seem doable to me.

Deana from Primary Punch has a special spot in my bloggy heart. She sent me the sweetest email a while ago that happened to come at time when I really needed it. She's rocking it out over on her blog and this post shares some great ideas for literacy centers.

And to round out my featured five, I had to include Laura Candler. I started out using her Power Reading Workshop book this year to get things moving in a new direction. It was a lifesaver. I found the whole Daily 5/Cafe approach completely fascinating, but a bit hard to pull together on my own without some professional help or even someone else in my school to work with to get it going. Laura's book provides a step by step guide to get the ball rolling, which is exactly what I needed. This post on her blog details the similarities and differences between PRW and Daily 5.

If you were one of my featured five, feel free to grab this button for your blog and link back to this page:

Everyone else, link up and show me how literacy centers work in your room.  The only rule is that it must be a blog post and it must include the button below that links back here.  

Ready for a giveaway? It's been a while, right?

I recently had the chance to use the MeCorder Mini Video Recorder from Learning Resources. It's a tiny little thing, but it does a lot for the size and price.
Even little kids will be able to operate it quite easily. Just by pushing one button, they can record themselves reading or speaking.

The picture on the screen is actually better than I thought it would be. It charges via USB and the charge lasts quite a while. You can also transfer the video that is captured to your computer via the same USB cable. It's magnetic, so you can just pop it on your board and always have it handy.

I have a couple of students who receive speech therapy. I've been having them work together to read into the recorder while they're practicing their sounds. It's great for them to actually hear themselves and  see where they're placing their tongue.

The only drawback to the MeCorder is that the recording time is only 30 seconds. If it was at least a minute long, then it could be used for running records, fluency practice or even to read a piece of writing. However, even with the short recording time, there are still plenty of great uses for it. While I was testing it out, I recorded directions for a center activity and left it in the center for the kids to play when they got there. They thought that was pretty hysterical for some reason!

Here it is in action. I H-A-T-E myself on video, so sharing this with you is a huge step for me WAY out of my comfort zone. See how much I love you guys!?

There was a time when I'd get super excited to go to the "teacher store" to look for new resources. I'd never leave empty handed, that's for sure. Over 20 years of doing that resulted in LOTS of resource books piled up on my shelves, most of which I rarely used more than a few pages from. Add to that years and years worth of Mailbox Magazine subscriptions and I'm pretty sure I could open my own teacher resource store!

So when I discovered tpt, I was instantly in love. Browsing for great instructional materials was a lot easier from the comfort of my couch and jammies at any time of the day or night! I especially loved not having the physical books to store anymore. And the absolute best part was how much cheaper everything was! I would typically spend about $15 on one resource book at the store. For $15 on tpt I could buy at least 3-4 really good, complete lessons or center activities that were exactly (and only) what I needed.  So at the end of last year I weeded out my uber giant collection of resource books and kept only a few very favorites and gave away the rest. I'm loving all the extra shelf space I have. I rarely even look at most of the ones I kept, actually. As a buyer, I'd be lost without tpt!

See! 180 Purchases and still have over 100 items on my wishlist. eek!

Now as a seller, I have to thank any of you who have ever shopped at my little corner of the market. I know exactly what it  means when you spend your hard earned personal money on resources for your classroom and I strive to create top quality resources at the most reasonable prices that I can offer {along with lots of freebies!}

For this week's show and tell, I thought it would be fun to share some of your favorite purchases from the recent Super Sunday Sale (or even if it wasn't from Sunday, that's ok too. I won't tattle).

So here is some of my haul from Sunday. Just click on any of the pictures to check them out on tpt. You can see I was a little clipart obsessed, but that's really nothing new...

So, link up and show everyone your favorite tpt purchases! If you're not a blogger, feel free to leave a comment telling us. I love finding new things this way. The only rule is that it must be a blog post about your purchases and it must include the button below that links back here.  

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